December 4, 2023

Ukrainian and neighborhood leaders need employment and academic alternatives to enhance for Ukrainian newcomers in Fort McMurray.

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The president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress’ department in Alberta says Ukrainians are settling effectively in Fort McMurray. Nonetheless, she hopes to see their alternatives for employment and schooling enhance each locally and throughout Alberta.

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Orysia Boychuk, president of the department, visited Fort McMurray final Thursday and Friday to satisfy with employers, financial and political leaders, neighborhood teams and members of Fort McMurray’s Ukrainian neighborhood. Boychuk inspired neighborhood leaders to make it simpler for newcomers to seek out academic coaching and new employment.

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“There appears to be fairly a little bit of curiosity to doubtlessly improve newcomers to return to Fort McMurray with the assistance and help of a pathway to make sure they’re profitable,” mentioned Boychuk.

Boychuk and Lee-Anne Kumka of the Fort McMurray Ukrainian Cultural Society mentioned employers and unions within the trades are desirous to welcome Ukrainians in apprenticeship packages, particularly as many trades face critical labour shortages.

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Kumka praised Keyano Faculty for lowering tuition to home charges for Ukrainian evacuees. The faculty says 9 Ukrainian college students enrolled at Keyano through the 2022-23 educational 12 months. Kumka hopes that quantity will rise beneath the discounted fee.

“We’re reaching out and dealing extra with these organizations, discovering out what skillets they’re searching for, and matching these calls for with individuals who have arrived right here or in Calgary or Edmonton,” mentioned Kumka.

“We’ve got numerous very educated {and professional} individuals who had been instructors, college professors, medical doctors, legal professionals, and they’re working front-end counter work at retail jobs,” mentioned Boychuk. “They’re working survival jobs and searching for methods to develop themselves, get their credentials and certifications acknowledged, and combine at a extra skilled degree.”

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Greater than 250 Ukrainians have arrived in Fort McMurray since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. They’re a sliver of the 41,000 Ukrainians which have settled in Alberta for the reason that begin of the battle. Most Ukrainians who got here to Canada and are in Calgary, adopted by Edmonton and Purple Deer. Boychuk mentioned political leaders have mentioned there may be room to welcome much more Ukrainians in Fort McMurray.

Studying English has additionally been a battle for some Ukrainian newcomers, mentioned Boychuk. This has restricted alternatives for schooling and employment. Language boundaries additionally make it tough for them to seek out help for his or her emotional and psychological well being. There are additionally few specialists in Alberta accustomed to Ukrainian language and tradition, which makes one-on-one classes uncommon.

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However Boychuk feels Ukrainian newcomers in Fort McMurray are thriving. They aren’t dealing with the skyrocketing rents seen in different Canadian cities. Many evacuees are volunteering locally, socializing and organizing occasions. Kids are attending college. Most adults are employed. An current, pre-invasion Ukrainian neighborhood has been vital in serving to newcomers settle.

Kumka mentioned many are pursuing everlasting residency. There are additionally plans to open a Ukrainian heritage college. The varsity would meet on Saturdays so youngsters might observe their language and study Ukrainian tradition.

“A board has been shaped and the following step is to discover a house,” mentioned Boychuk. “The Ukrainian neighborhood has achieved a whole lot of work right here.”

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